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Sound of an Orchestra

How can you create sounds that have different pitches and different strengths? Make your own instrument and use it to create your own orchestra!

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  • What do you know about how sound is made?
  • Where will you get the containers to make your instruments?
  • For some of the activities, you will be in small groups. How will you form your group?


Activity #1: Dancing water:

  • Cover the subwoofer with plastic and pour water into the plastic.
  • Turn the subwoofer on and watch the pattern on the water.
  • What happens when you change the volume? The frequency?


Activity # 2: Different vibrations, different sounds:

  • Try to make different sounds with the instruments you have available. What is vibrating to make the sound in this instrument?
  • Think about other sounds you hear around you during the day. What is vibrating to create those sounds?


Activity # 3: Water Orchestra:

  • Use a spoon, pen, marker or other stick-like object to tap the glasses when they are empty. Add some water to the glasses and tap them again. What do you notice? How is the sound different?
  • What happens if you change the amount of water in the glass?
  • Explore different amounts of water and different sounds. Can you play a song on your water instrument?


Activity # 4: Rubber band guitar:

  • Use rubber bands of different sizes to create a guitar out of a box.
  • What do you notice about the sound of each rubber band?
  • Create a guitar that has five (or more) different pitches.


  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • How did you change the sounds made by the glasses? How did you change the sounds made by the rubber bands?
  • How else do you think you can build new musical instruments?
  • What elements of STEM were in this adventure? Science? Technology? Engineering? Mathematics?
  • What did you like about this adventure? What did you not like about it? How would you do this adventure differently?


  • Subwoofer or large speaker
  • Plastic wrap
  • Water
  • Musical instruments (Brass, string, and percussion instruments if possible)
  • 5 glass bottles or glasses for every group of 4–5 youth
  • Rubber bands of different thicknesses
  • Plastic containers, shoeboxes or other cardboard boxes; one for each person
  • Sticks to play the glasses (spoons, pens, pencils, etc.)

Keep it Simple

  • Find a way to make your own instrument out of household materials. Maybe you’ll make egg carton shakers, or a plastic bucket drum.

Take it Further

  • Arrange to attend a concert or watch a video of an orchestra. Can you hear the different kinds of instruments? How do the different sounds make you feel?